I so enjoy the writings and wisdom of Rachel Naomi Remen, a physician, visionary and warm human being. I was first exposed to her warmth and wisdom in her book My Grandfather's Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge and Belonging. Now I am reading her Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal. Both are equally rich with stories and wisdom.
In Kitchen Table Wisdom, Remen writes: "We usually look outside of ourselves for heroes and teachers. It has not occurred to most people that they may already be the role model they seek. ...we are all more than we know. ...Integrity rarely means that we need to add something to ourselves: it is more an undoing than a doing, a freeing ourselves from beliefs we have about who we are and ways we have been persuaded to 'fix' ourselves to know who we genuinely are."
Isn't that fascinating? Perhaps we do sell ourselves short. Perhaps we really are more than we imagined. And definitely I do believe that "it is more an undoing than a doing." We spent so many years adding things into our container of "This is who I am." And then in midlife and beyond, we realize that many of those things are not really who we are. They're not natural for us. Perhaps for someone else. But not for us. And so we begin to undo those things that aren't really "us."
That seems to be a central task of the last half of life, doesn't it? At that stage, we know who we really are. We become comfortable in our own skin. We can be the role model we seek!